What does it do?

This test determines how frequently and substantially a website appears to be kept up to date - how 'fresh' it is.

Why is it important?

Fresh content has a marked, positive effect on Search Engine Optimisation and user experience for most websites. Conversely, a stale website can actively deter users.

  • Seeing a website that is clearly out of date - for example, the 'latest news' area is featuring an article from 9 months ago - projects a negative impression of the website and its brand.
  • Competitive SEO generally requires for content to be added on a regular basis, both to expand the amount of content at a steady rate and to stay current with recent developments.
  • Users are disproportionately engaged by content that is new. In particular, fresh content is more likely to be shared socially and flourish virally.

How is it measured?

SiteBeam reads the content for each page and searches for indications of when it was created, and what dates it talks about. Essentially it does what a human being does when looking at a website.

The resulting 'perceived age' is illustrated on a graph by this test. This graph indicates when changes in this website were perceived to have occurred, such as fresh news articles.

Potential problems

Don't assume that your websites must always score a perfect 10 for this test. See Perfectionist fallacy.

Some websites do not mention any dates. These websites receive an informational score only.

A website may be kept up to date, but not give any obvious indication that this is the case in its content. These websites would be falsely highlighted as appearing more out of date than they are. You could choose to exclude the test in this case, or consider adding dates to pages based on when they were updated (e.g. in the footer of an article, add something like "Last updated: dd/mm/yy").

How to improve this score

This test indicates the perceived age of the website. If it is more up-to-date than the test believes, consider adding more dates to the website that make the age of content conspicuous. For example, add the date at which a news article is posted next to the article. This can usually be automated in the Content Management System you are using, if any.

Otherwise the only way to improve this score is to keep your website up to date with a steady stream of regular content. Consider adding at least a single page every month at a minimum. If your website hasn't been updated in a very long time (e.g. 12 months) adding just a single update will make a significant difference.